The day before the Shiner half marathon it really hit me how extremely unprepared for this half marathon I was. I had maybe gone on one run and hadn’t gone on a long run since…my last half? Yeah, it was bad. I started debating if I even wanted to attempt to do a half. I knew I could do it, I’d most likely have to walk and struggle most the time, but I could do it. The morning of the race I was seriously debating doing the 5k. It was rainy and overcast and I wasn’t in the mood to jog / walk 13.1 miles. But I knew if I did the 5k, I would be mad at myself. It was like I was giving up. About 15 minutes before the race started, I knew I was going to attempt the half. I knew there was a chance that I’d give up while I was out on the course, but at least I tried. First off – Shiner, Texas, is a gorgeous little town. The brewery is right off the main road and is definitely a cool site. Right before the race, Ryan and I were talking about the course and what were to happen if we had to go the bathroom during the half. He goes “we’ll be running past gas stations, just stop in one.” We had no idea how wrong he was. The gun went off and Ryan and I started jogging. I got in the groove and felt good…for about half a mile…I told Ryan to go on and I’d see him at the finish. He kept going and I kept a fast walk going. The course started out in neighborhoods, like most races do, then all of a sudden we were in the country. In the middle of no where. I kept thinking about that gas station Ryan mention. Yeah, none of those out there. We were literally on little country roads and eventually ended up on a dirt road. My feet hated that since I was in my vibrams. I could feel every little rock I stepped on. It was miserable. Around mile 10 I wanted to give up. I wanted to sit down and never get up. But what always keeps me going is thinking of my donor. She was definitely up in heaven and telling me to keep going. At mile 11, I wanted to cry. I could feel all the blisters on my feet and with every step I felt like my knee was going to give out. At mile 12, I look up and see Ryan. He had already crossed the finish line and had come back to do the last mile with me. I started tearing up because I was so happy to be done and I love my brother so stinkin’ much. That last mile sucked, but it was the most fun. Ryan kept my spirits up and as we walked by the volunteers he would be like “man, is the finish close?! I’m so tired!” And of course, I’d roll my eyes at him. But as I saw the finish line and my parents, I jogged and crossed it. Thank goodness. I immediately sat down to examine the damage on my feet. I have some nasty blisters. And I can barely walk today. But I got my medal and had a Shiner Bock, in Shiner, Texas, with my family. What more could I ask for? We also took a tour of the brewery, which I’d definitely recommend. It was really cool to see. If I learned anything from this half marathon it would be to always train before a race. I’m definitely regretting not doing that. But I finished, and I couldn’t have done it without my amazing family and my donor, who I can never thank enough for the gift of life. Next up, the Austin half marathon with the whole Horton clan participating!
The video is finally done! Here it is!
I am still in shock. I can not believe that yesterday I completed my first half marathon. I am sad it’s over because I’ve been looking forward to the half marathon all semester and now that it is over I actually have to study for finals. I am so glad I finished and had so much fun doing it.
I went to Oklahoma City Saturday morning with my friend Kelsey to pick up our race packets. We parked the car and walked to the Cox Convention Center. There was so much going on in OKC on Saturday. The Thunder played the Mavericks (Thunder won, boo) that night at the Chesapeake Arena which is right next to the convention center so there were people EVERYWHERE. Once we got into the convention center, Kelsey and I got really excited. I think it hit us that the next day we would be participating in the the 12th Annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and half marathon. Once getting our packets and bib numbers, we went and walked around the health and fitness expo, which I really enjoyed.
Later that day I had to go pick up my mommy from the airport! I left at 2:30 so I would be on time to pick her up at 3:15 well my GPS wanted me to take a highway that doesn’t exist any longer, so I ended up not getting to the airport until 3:50. I was beyond frustrated because I honestly could not find the airport…finally I got on the right highway and found my way there. First we checked into the hotel, then headed back down to the expo so I could show my mom around. It was really fun walking around and spending time with my mom. I am so grateful that she could come up for the race.
After the expo we went to Macaroni Grill to carb load. I think I ate more than I ever have…I had potato cakes, mushroom ravioli, and some chicken. I was so stuffed after that meal. We ran some last minute errands before heading back to the hotel to get some rest. It took me awhile to fall asleep, but once I did I was out.
4:45 am came a lot sooner than I wanted it too. Once, I was awake, the nerves and butterflies hit me. I was super excited but still nervous. What if i didn’t finish? What if it was pouring rain the whole time? Was I really ready for a half marathon? Once I got dressed, got my bib pinned on and ate some breakfast, we headed down to find parking. As we were driving down there, I was getting anxious and was still in some shock about what I was about to do. Getting to the starting line was when it really hit me. I and about 30,000 other people were about to do a half marathon or full marathon. Crazy. Once the clock hit 6:30am, the race began. I said goodbye to my mom, and jumped in with the rest of the crowd to start the half marathon.
I jogged the first mile and a half with the 9 minute pace group which was probably not the smartest thing. It tired me out pretty quickly. I started walking until I found a group that was more of my pace. Miles 1 – 4 flew by. There were people cheering us on the whole way and that made it easier to keep going. Around mile 6 it started pouring down rain…the rain felt good for the first few minutes, but then it just became annoying…luckily it only lasted about a mile or so before it stopped. It still sprinkled most of the race, but as long as it wasn’t pouring, I was good.
My friend Lindsey, who is an athletic training major, was working one of the medical stations. She thought she’d be working at the mile 10 station, so when I saw the medical station at mile 10, I took off in a dead sprint, only to learn she wasn’t there. I was bummed but knew she had to be at one of the stations and I’d eventually see her. Once I got to mile 11, I saw a girl who looked like Lindsey, helping a runner put a bandage on a blister. I ran up, grabbed her face and yelled “I LOVE YOU! SEE YOU AT THE END!” Luckily, it was Lindsey and I wasn’t yelling in some random girls face. I continued to jog on. A few minutes later I heard someone yelling my name, I turned around to see Lindsey jogging after me. We hugged, she told me she was proud of me, and I was off again. Seeing Lindsey definitely gave me the boost of energy I needed. Mile 10-13 were the hardest. My knees had started hurting, along with the bottom of my feet, but I was so close and knew I had to continue on.
When I saw the finish line, I took off in a sprint. I was so ready for it to be over. I just wanted to cross that finish line. I started crying before I reached the finish line, because I did it. I finished a half marathon. I honestly never thought I’d be doing this. Five years ago, stairs were my enemy. Now, stairs are my best friend and 13.1 miles is my enemy. I teared up off and on through out the half marathon, because I wasn’t doing this for me anymore. I was doing this for the family who had the strength to donate their daughters heart that made it possible for me to live the amazing life that I have. Someday, I hope I can write them a letter telling them all I have done with the heart they’ve given me. God has blessed me with an unbelievable second chance at life and I refuse to let it be anything but ordinary.
Whenever it got tough, I would remind myself of how blessed I was that I had the opportunity to participate in the half marathon. The Ben Breedlove story had a huge impact on me. I had watched some of Ben’s youtube videos and his passing really hit me hard. I was lucky enough to have had my heart transplant before I got really sick, Ben didn’t even have that chance. When I signed up for the half marathon, I wrote in my planner 3 reasons I wanted to do the half marathon. I wrote do it for Ben, do it prove them wrong, and do it make this year different.
I did this half marathon for those 18 people who pass away daily waiting for an organ and to show others that an organ recipient can live a more than normal life. I might have to take medications every morning and evening, have doctor check-ups, and take more precautions when I get sick, but I can still participate in a half marathon, go to college, and live a normal life all because I received the gift of life
I’m going to continue to keep running and training. I’m planning to do the Austin Half Marathon on February 17, 2013. I’m trying to get my mom to do it with me! My friend Emily Ronck also plans to do it! Eventually I’d like to do a full marathon, but I’d like to do a few more halves before that. My friend Kelsey, who did the full marathon, finished in 4:45 which is amazing. I am so proud of her to for finish with such a good time! It was so fun training with her, we always encouraged each other to go run or congratulate each other after we finished a run. I’m so happy I had her there along the way. My final time ended up being 3:27. My pace was slower than I would have liked it to be, but it was my first time, so I’m just happy I finished. By the time the Austin half marathon comes along, I’d like to have a 12 minute pace and finish in under 3 hours.
I can officially cross number 24 off my bucket list!!!! If you ever get the chance, train and participate in a half marathon! It was awesome and I can’t wait to do another!! Thank you to everyone who helped encourage me along the way and for all the kind words after I finished! They really mean a lot to me!
Last night, my brother and I had a really interesting conversation about why more people don’t wonder how much their bodies can do. For anyone who doesn’t know Ryan, he’s obsessed with running and anything outdoors..he’s also a medical student learning all about what the body is capable of. I’m used to hearing him ask these kinds of questions about pushing your body to the extreme to see it’s full power. Whenever we talk about this, all I can think about is how God made our complex bodies and how amazing they truly are, so why not push them? . While training for this half marathon, I often will get to a point where I just hit a wall. I could easily keep going, but my mind tells me I’m tired, so I stop. We discussed what could a human do if they trained for a year? Could someone run 50 miles straight? After two years, could they do 100 miles? It’s crazy to think about, how far could you run if you didn’t stop and just kept pushing your body to the extreme? Ryan said something last night that really hit me though. He said “I’ve got this crazy desire to pack my running bag with water and electrolyte packs and just start running. I don’t want to stop until the most forward motion I can manage is to crawl.” I love that. Can you imagine pushing your body so hard, that you’re literally crawling just to keep going. If anything, this showed me his true passion for running. This got me thinking, what are you so passionate about that you’re willing to crawl to achieve it? Think about it.
Happy New Year, a few weeks late…
This is not a bucket list post, but it does include some future plans!
Happy new years everyone! I hope 2011 was amazing and 2012 will be even better! Personally, 2011 was a great year, I accomplished a lot of things and learned much more. I celebrated my 5 years with my new heart, learned that I’m not scared of heights unless I’m rappelling over a 32 story building, and everyday I am reminded in someway or another of how truly blessed I am to have a second chance of life.
And because I have had a second chance at life, I deserve to prove to myself all that I can do. With help from some very encouraging friends, I’ve decided to knock number 24, to do a half marathon, off my bucket list. The half marathon isn’t until April 29th, but I’ve started training now and after a few days, I’m already feeling the burn. For anyone who knows my brother, and I, knows that I am the napper and he is runner. Two years ago my brother participated in a marathon and helped raise money for the American Heart Association along the way. Seeing him cross the finish line actually made me tear up because he accomplished a goal he had been training so hard for. Now it’s my turn. 2012 will be my year. I don’t want to be the napper anymore (except every now and then) and I want to prove to myself and everyone else that I can do this. I have a second chance to prove to myself that I can do this, so why waste it?
Some other random new years resolutions include giving up soda completely, become healthier, and study harder. I believe these are pretty simple, but as they say, always easier said than done.
This year has been amazing, but I can’t wait to cross off more items to my bucket list and continue to add more!